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Victoria’s best family-friendly bike rides
Get on your bike and pedal your way around Victoria on these family-friendly rides.
Victoria is blessed with places to take a family ride, our suburbs threaded with bike trails that show the neighbourhood from a fresh angle, and regional Victoria boasting hundreds of kilometres of easy-riding rail trails. But some paths are better than others for riding with kids. We’ve picked seven options that will appeal to families, so plan your route, pack some snacks and get pedalling.
If you’re heading away from home and there’s no room for bikes in your car, look into hiring some at your destination – from a bike shop, information centre or at the campground or accommodation where you’re staying. Some bike-focused tourism hotspots even offer hire-bike delivery and shuttles.
Seven of the best family bike rides in Victoria
Give the kids a whole new outlook on the Eastlink freeway from the shared path that winds alongside it. The Eastlink Trail is lined with whimsical sculptures including Callum Morton’s Hotel, Emily Floyd’s Public Art Strategy – better known as the big black bird with the yellow worm – and Matt Calvert’s silhouetted steel Boy Looking Up. The 35-kilometre trail winds in and out of various parks and reserves between Donvale and Dandenong and connects with other paths including the Dandenong Creek and Mullum Mullum Creek trails. Riders can join and leave at multiple access points, so pick a section close to home and get the kids exploring.
Go for gold
Mountain-biking older kids will love exploring central Victoria’s goldfields region via the Goldfields Track that connects boomtown Ballarat and Bendigo via a meandering biking and hiking path. For a more sedate ride try the 18-kilometre Maldon to Castlemaine Rail Trail, shadowing the historic Victorian Goldfields Railway. Its seven-kilometre middle section around Muckleford is car-free and perfect for families with younger kids. If you’re tuckered out after going the full distance, hop aboard the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s steam train – bikes travel free – for the return trip.
Beside the seaside
Great Ocean Road on your itinerary? Take it at a slower pace on the Surf Coast Walk (and ride) which runs from north of Torquay to Fairhaven. More than half the walk’s length is open to cyclists, including the first section from Point Impossible to Yellow Bluff, which abuts the windswept dunes and coastal vegetation of Wathaurong country on a mostly flat 5.7-kilometre ride. Younger riders might like to meander the 1.6-kilometre Anglesea Riverbanks section where the river meets the ocean.
Ride the solar system
Port Phillip’s Solar System Trail adds a celestial twist to the foreshore between St Kilda and Port Melbourne. It’s studded with sun and planet sculptures replicating the solar system on a cosmic scale of one to one billion. Ride from the ‘sun’, near the white lighthouse at the St Kilda Marina Reserve, to Pluto in Port Melbourne. But you’ll need plenty of rest stops on what might be a tiring journey – in this universe every metre you ride measures a million kilometres.
To the river
Arthur Streeton was fond of painting his dreamy landscapes in the picture-perfect Trawool Valley, so pretty it’s been classified by the National Trust. Hop on your bikes at Tallarook, just off the Hume Freeway an hour or so north of Melbourne, for the first chunk of the Great Victorian Rail Trail that winds all the way to Mansfield. This section is a family-sized 11 kilometres and you get to ride beside the deep-green Goulburn River along the valley floor to Trawool, so pack a riverside picnic.
In the loop
Melbourne’s Capital City Trail forms a lopsided 30-kilometre loop around the city and inner suburbs as a shared bike and walking path that joins other trails here and there. From Southbank Promenade it follows the Yarra through the inner-east’s Cremorne and Burnley, then up into Richmond and Abbotsford, skirting the top of North Fitzroy and Princes Hill before cutting through Royal Park then down to Docklands. Choose a section for a family ride – perhaps taking in a visit to the Melbourne Zoo or the Abbotsford Convent on the Yarra. Older kids could tackle the whole loop in a day (though be aware there are some on-road sections), or take young ones on a detour through Royal Park near Flemington Road to the fabulous Nature Play Playground next to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The stunning ocean views will be the only thing taking your breath away on the easy-riding Bass Coast Rail Trail that stretches 17 kilometres from the old Wonthaggi Railway Station to Woolamai Racecourse. The 10-kilometre stretch from Wonthaggi to Kilcunda is the flattest, and includes a trundle across the historic Bourne Creek wooden trestle bridge. Keep an eye out for grazing kangaroos on this section too.